The Punjab Teachers Union (PTU) has threatened to boycott a government campaign to get out-of-school children to enroll in school on account of the schools education department penalising teachers for their students’ poor exam performances. Show cause notices have been served on 150 teachers in Punjab and penalties include being denied salary increments for up to five years or termination of service. While it is true that teachers should be held in check for their students’ performances and their own performances as instructors, there are several intricacies that must be studied in this case. The end solution is for teachers to not boycott the enrollment campaign.
The system of checks and balances that seems to be in place under the Punjab Employees Efficiency, Discipline and Accountability Act of 2006 is necessary and good, but it seems that the assessment of teachers under this Act has been completed in an unfair manner. PTU members claim that teachers have been tasked with duties out of their realm of work, which can be deemed unethical, such as holding dengue and measles drives. Volunteers or other employees must be hired for these tasks so as to allow teachers to focus on their primary goal of helping students perform in school. The education department should look into these claims by the PTU and stop practices that end up only hurting the students’ education by taking away teachers’ time and focus. Teachers should also cooperate with the government in its Emergency Enrollment Campaign because, as its title implies, education is a real emergency in the country and it is imperative that school enrollment increases.
By boycotting the campaign, teachers are sending a negative message to students that education is not a priority where politics are involved. The PTU and the education department must urgently work out a viable solution to enable teachers to do their jobs efficiently in order to help students achieve better results before they lose out even more.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2013.
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